Well, it looks like the shit has definitely hit the fan in this latest episode of Gotham. It seems Penguin is the only one prepared with his looming umbrella to shield him, but then, it was all part of his plan. After Penguin seemed to take a step-down in the cruel and calculating department in Viper, he took the backseat for a while. I was distraught at this as he’s probably the best character on the show, yet the creators of Gotham seemed to have planned this from the start as he came back in full force this episode. We get to see just how far ahead he planned(even from when Gordon was told to kill him) and to be honest, I’m kind of scared of him now. Well, scareder than I was before. The depths of his ingenious insanity truly knows no bounds.
Cobblepot is like a scheming and manipulative puppet master and in Penguin’s Umbrella, we get to see just how big his network of strings is. We see him manipulate several different sides for his own, malevolent gain and the reveal of his plan at the end is just masterful. He finally also gets revenge on that douchebag Frank; doing so in the most stylish yet disturbing fashion possible. Penguin is also shown as being able to take advantage of people’s weaknesses showing he knows how to pit people’s minds against themselves and punish them for their own pride. Some people may not like him for the fact that he’s nearly nothing like the classic Batman Penguin but I personally have no objections towards his differences. Joker wasn’t always the murderous psychopath we know him as today, he used to be quite comical in fact. So I feel this change to Penguin is completely justified.
There are parts of the plan I don’t get however. Like, why in the hell would Falcone even make that deal with Penguin? Here’s the deal: You tell Gordon to kill me but if he spares me then I pinky promise 100% to return to Gotham, get in with the Maroni’s and act as a double agent for you totally not betraying you in any way. Even on the outside, Cobblepot looks like a man you really can’t trust yet Falcone accepts the deal? I agree with Fish now, he must be getting old and withered because why would a long-time, experienced gang leader of Falcone’s experience ever just trust someone on their word? It hasn’t really worked out that well for him either, Penguin even helped Maroni raid one of his casino’s a few episodes ago but Falcone is apparently so impressed by his guile and intelligence that he’s even willing to grant him a favour and spare Gordon. The rest of Penguin’s plan was entertaining to watch unfold but I just don’t get how Falcone would agree to it in the first place. Rant over.
Gordon and his girlfriend Barbara also find themselves in some very hot, borderline boiling, shark-and-pirahna-infested waters as pretty much the entirety of Gotham’s criminal underworld tries to kill or capture them. After Harvey got the spotlight last episode, it was great to get some more focus on Gordon again and boy does the buildup to this pay off. The action scenes present in this episode were easily the best in the show with Gordon going up against Zsasz, bane of the dyslexic(even I had to spellcheck him). Eventually Montoya and Crispus join in to lend a hand when he’s literally on his last legs and it’s one of the most kickass moments of the show. Watching Gordon go up against pretty much the entire city is heartwarming and badass at the same time as you watch him cling onto hope against all odds.
Barbara on the other hand, almost ruined this episode for me. I was willing to give her a chance before despite what people said but she’s just the most boring, “I’m a strong female but nevertheless a damsel-in-distress” character I’ve ever seen. She gets captured twice in this episode. Despite all of Gordon’s pleas for her to get out of the city so she’s safe, she returns only to get captured again. If you’re going to return, at least DO something, don’t just return to act as a plot device to ensure Gordon doesn’t succeed against corruption so early in the show. And straight after, Jim just talks about how much he loves her and that he’s glad she’s safe. It was the most cliche and boring way to end the episode until Penguin stepped up and salvaged it. What Gordon see’s in her I’ll never know.
Although only showing up for a short while, Harvey was also a complete badass. At first, he tries to kill Jim but just can’t seem to pull the trigger. Then, by the end, he’s prepared to go down in a blaze of glory with Gordon as he figures he’s screwed either way because he was the one in charge of making sure Jim killed Penguin. It really shows just how much their relationship as partners has developed since the first episode. Bullock makes logical points for the why he would help Jim but I feel that they’re nothing more than excuses. He doesn’t want to just let another partner die, especially after all the Spirit of the Goat murders in the previous episode that shows us what happened to his last partner.
Despite all its problems, Penguin’s Umbrella is one of Gotham’s strongest episodes yet, possibly the strongest. Cobblepot, Jim and Harvey were all amazing in their own unique ways in this episode. The appearance of Zsasz was unexpected but nevertheless welcome as it proved the perfect opportunity for some of Gotham’s best action scenes so far. Characters that were somewhat minor before such as Bruce have some meaningful scenes that only added to the already magnificent story. I was shocked upon discovering there’s still around another twenty episodes in Gotham’s first season alone meaning I have a lot to get through. But to be honest, I’m happy to. Gotham invites you into its corrupt and shadowy slums with equal parts unwelcoming and coolly inviting arms and I’m more than glad to accept the invitation.